According to this Bismarck Tribune story from reporter Nick Smith, Senator Heidi Heitkamp will be holding yet another Twitter “town hall.”
“Heitkamp will begin taking questions at 11:15 a.m. Thursday,” reports Smith (Thursday next week, to be specific.
This will be Heitkamp’s third “town hall” on Twitter, where she enjoys the largest percentage of fake followers among North Dakota’s elected leaders, and the previous events have been poorly attended garnering just roughly two dozen participants between the two.
Earlier today I wrote about Rep. Cramer hosting another of his series of Coffee with Cramer events in Jamestown at which he got some tough questions about the situation in Spirit Lake and earned some applause from the crowd. So far, Rep. Kevin Cramer is the only member of North Dakota’s congressional delegation to hold face-to-face, in-person, open-forum town hall meetings with his constituents.
Senator Hoeven hasn’t held any open events, and Senator Heitkamp will only hold them with Twitter as a buffer between her and the hoi polloi.
There’s really not an excuse for this. Rep. Cramer is an at-large member of Congress, meaning he represents the entire state. Thus, his constituency isn’t any smaller than those of Hoeven of Heitkamp. And members of the House actually have a smaller budget for constituent communications than does members of the Senate on the presumption that all Senators represent entire states, whereas most members of the House represent only portions of their states.
If Rep. Cramer can find the time and the resources to present himself to his constituents for questions, praise and criticism why can’t Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp? And why can’t Heitkamp do it without a social media crutch?
Especially when Heitkamp and her fellow Democrats can certainly find the resources to send out trackers to record Rep. Cramer’s town hall meetings.
This matters. One of the things we North Dakotans have as an advantage of living in a small state is accessibility to our elected leaders. Unlike other states, it’s a lot easier to meet our delegation face to face. Which is why it’s so obnoxious that Senator Heitkamp would hold any town halls with her constituents except by social media.